Saturday, 11 June 2016


Day 6 Coober Pedy To Marla

Blog By: Sharky

Distance: 237 km's
Average: 26.9 km/h
Max Speed: 34 km/h
Climbing: 400 metres
Riding time: 8hrs 45min
Temp Min: 3 degrees
Temp Max: 18 degrees
Wind: Very light winds all day from the side and tailwind evening

Geoff Honey
Blog Dedication to Geoff Honey, who tragically passed away today after suffering a heart attack a week ago. - 3 time Smiddy rider for the Brisbane to Townsville Challenge. Our thoughts go out to Geoff's family and friends. Many of the Smiddy riders doing this current event knew Geoff and we are all devastated and extremely sad. Tomorrow morning we will have a minutes silence prior to roll out to think of our fallen mate.

Today's stage from Coobey Pedy to the small town of Marla was our biggest stage of the entire trip at 237 kilometres. We prayed for favorable conditions to help the weary riders complete such an epic day and that is just what we got, a brilliant day that allowed us to finish in daylight at 5pm. Everyone is extremely tired and the list of rider injuries climbs each day. Riding 237 kilometres fresh is a hard ask, but 5 days in and over a 1000 kilometres on weary legs is another thing. But as per usual everyone just sucked it up and got on with the job of completing today's stage. The peloton rolled out at 6:15am and were treated to a spectacular big country sunrise an hour into the ride.

Right from the get go there was always a very slight westerly wind, which basically meant that it was at our left side but pushing us forward, hence the reason we were able to get in before dark. I'd hate to think what time we would have finished if the winds from the previous day's had returned... Anyway we were all extremely grateful and felt we had earned the good conditions on a day we duly needed it.

I am really struggling to write again tonight so please understand when I say I need to sleep and will finish with 10 Sharky top highlights from today.

Brendan Whipps had to sit out day 5 due to saddle rash so severe he went to Coobey Pedy Hospital to get patched up. The Doctor on duty took one look at it and said; "I don't get paid enough to go anywhere near that!" So the nurse was given the honour of patching up Whippsy cheese grater bum cheeks. Anyway the big man came back today, wearing just 1 pair of Knicks, no double knicking for 'Buster Butt Cheeks Whippsy' and he completed the entire stage today.

2. Malcolm Bourke was out sick with the flu yesterday as well and made a welcome comeback for today's stage from lunch onwards. It was good to have him back as that man loves to whistle and sing really bad tunes, which helps to keep us all awake.

3. Tamara Vella has also been out for the past 2 days not feeling well but is hoping to join us again for tomorrow's 180 kilometre stage. We miss Tamara's happy demeanor and long for her return.

4. Gary Stewart joined us this year for his first Smiddy event and completed the first 2 days before he had to retire with an achillies that blew up to golf ball size proportions. Tonight he won the special Smiddy jersey for helping out road crew while injured and then making a return to the peloton today to complete the entire 237km stage.

5. Special call out to Sammi-Jo So, Rachel Pennisi and Tony Ganter, who without their expertise in Physio and Massage so many of us riders would not be able to continue. Rachel and Sammi-Jo worked tirelessly all day and then into the night after the main meal and festivities. While Tony rides all day and then steps up when needed to help the girls at night. Amazing effort guys.

6. Our bike mechanic in Trevor Menhinick is our most indispensable guy. Each day the que to see Trevor gets longer and he is always there for us. Thank you so much mate for keeping our bikes in tip top shape and allowing us to keep getting closer to the big red rock.

7. Another group that we could not get by without are the crew that keep us safe on the road. Nigel and Colin, John and Wayne in two lead cars alerting traffic to our presence and providing snacks and water, and of course Captain Kev in the Smiddy rear car and Rachel and Trevor in the bike van that travels behind Kev and always ready to swing in action when needed. You guys rock and it is so nice knowing you are there and always looking out for us.

8. Roger Hawley and Kim Grylls did the huddle tonight and spoke proudly of how well the group had pulled together over the course of this event. Roger also confessed that he had a bad day for the first 200km's but came good for the last 37km's. This made Peter Barnett very happy as Peter had to sit out today with achillies problems and was amazed that someone as strong as Roger could have a bad day.

9. Fantastic to see the group really bonding and riding as a team. We could not do what we are doing without each other and it shows out there more and more each day. It happens in every Smiddy events but the longer and harder the event the more so. It is beautiful to behold and I want to take them all home with me when this event wraps up, but we only have one guest bedroom!

10. Road crew, what can I say that has not already been said? Besides all the normal day to day and nighttime duties these amazing people do for us, here is just one story of the extent they will go to to look after a fellow rider. Melissa Speare lost her bike shoes and had to sit out day 5 of the ride. Road crew tore every vehicle part, every suitcase, every day bag and finally every swag and finally they were found inside Mel's swag! Road crew you are unique and Mel, well she won the nightly Priscilla Award as voted by her peers.

That's it from me and I am pleased to hand the blog over to Mel and Mick Farrag for day 7 who have volunteered to give me a night off.



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